Softball Mustangs rally, shock Westhill

If the Marcellus softball program earns long-term success, it may look to May 28, 2009 as a moment where it fully arrived.

Trailing by five runs to defending champion Westhill, about to be knocked out again early, the Mustangs made it all the way back and, in eight innings, stunned the Warriors 6-5 in the Section III Class B-1 quarterfinals.

For a long while, it looked to be a routine matter on Westhill's part. A series of defensive mistakes led to four Warrior runs in the bottom of the third inning, and it scored again in the fifth to make it 5-0.

Meanwhile, Marcellus was hitting the ball well, but couldn't get on the board against Westhill ace Toni Secreti, and was running out of chances to enter the fray.

But in the top of the sixth, it began to turn around. Sophie Jackson singled and Marissa Bankey reached base. With both of them in scoring position, Caitlin Henderson singled, scoring Jackson and Bankey.

Still, the Mustangs were down 5-2 going to the top of the seventh, and Secreti was within two outs of victory when Marcellus caught up.

Becca Ryan's single got it started. Gina Cardarelli followed with a single, and both came home when Lyssa Filtch delivered a single of her own. Bankey then stepped up and, with her single, brought home the tying run.

Westhill still had a chance to win it in regulation, as it put two runners on base in the bottom of the seventh. Cardarelli got out of it, though, coaxing Brittany Kaiser to pop out to force extra innings.

In the eighth, a throwing error put Henderson on second base with nobody out. A ground ball moved Henderson to third, and when Jenne Rodolico looped a single just inside the line, Henderson raced home with the go-ahead run.

Down a run, Westhill still had a chance. Nicole Toth beat out a bunt single and, with two out, Shannon Flattery walked. Emily Mangicaro tried a bunt -- but popped out, and Marcellus had won.

Now the Mustangs advanced to face no. 6 seed Homer in Saturday's B-1 semifinal, a team it had beaten 5-3 a week earlier.

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